Tom Hunt Distinguished AlumniDr. Hunt receiving award from Melanie Talbot at the 37th UAB National Symposium for Healthcare ExecutivesThomas R. Hunt, III, MD, DSc, a 2014 graduate of the UAB School of Health ProfessionsExecutive Doctor of Science Degree in Administration-Health Services, is our 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award winner. This award is reserved for those who have achieved distinction through exceptional contribution to their professions and shown a history of excellence in their careers. This is the highest honor awarded to our alumni.

Hunt is board certified in orthopaedic surgery and holds a subspecialty certificate in surgery of the hand.  He is an involved member of numerous national and regional specialty societies. For greater than 15 consecutive years he has been included in a variety of best or top doctor publications and in 2016, he was named by the Houston Chronicle as “Best of the Best in Care” – one of only two hand surgeons to receive that distinction.

Hunt’s medical training and experience spans more than 30 years. He serves as the Chair of the Joseph Barnhart Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where he holds the Wilhelmina Arnold Barnhart Endowed Chair in Orthopedic Surgery. He is a tenured professor of Orthopedic Surgery with secondary appointments as professor of Surgery, and Space Medicine.

In addition, Hunt has held leadership positions at several prestigious institutions across the U.S. He began his career in Seattle at the Virginia Mason Medical Center, an institution known widely for its pioneering focus on high value, patient-centered health care delivery, where he became the inaugural Head of the Section of Hand Surgery.

From there, Hunt was recruited to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland. At that institution he oversaw all clinical, educational and research activities for the Section of Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery.

He then moved to the University of Alabama at Birmingham as professor of Surgery and the John D. Sherrill Endowed Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery where he served as Director of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and the first Surgeon-in-Chief of UAB University Highlands Hospital.

Since 2013, Hunt has been an orthopedic team physician for the NFL’s Houston Texans and in 2016 was tapped by the NFL to oversee research and innovation related to hand, wrist, and elbow injuries as part of the league’s focus on player health and safety. He is also one of only three orthopaedic surgeons named to the medical board of the Titleist Performance Institute.

Hunt’s commitment to the education of medical students, residents and fellows has been unwavering and he remains actively engaged to this day. In Cleveland, as well as in Birmingham, he directed the Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship Programs. As department chair in Houston, he teaches and provides administrative and directional oversight for all learners in the field.

Hunt is focused not just on the education of trainees but also his surgical colleagues. Throughout his distinguished career he has delivered upwards of 125 lectures, courses, workshops and symposia at national and international conferences and universities. He recently edited the second edition of a highly regarded textbook entitled, Operative Techniques in Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Surgery.

That is one of several books he has authored and edited on orthopaedic surgery. He has also contributed a number of additional book chapters and other invited submissions; approximately two-dozen refereed articles; and has been a consultant reviewer or managing editor for several medical journals including the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and the Journal of Hand Surgery.

Research and innovation is seen by Hunt as a critical means of improving patient care outcomes. He has participated in many scientific investigations and has designed commonly utilized orthopedic implants and procedures for the reconstruction of upper extremity trauma and disorders.

Hunt has served as senior scientist and internal advisor for many university-designated research entities and he is a member of the Program Advisory Committee for the Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Bone Disease Program of Texas. This multi-institutional research, clinical, and educational collaborative, established in 2002 at the Texas Medical Center (TMC), seeks to improve basic and translational research related to disorders of bone and the musculoskeletal system.

He also works within the TMC’s Innovation Institute (TMCx) as an advisor to healthcare startup companies. One of Hunt’s ongoing research interests involves determining the genetic basis behind closed tendon and ligament ruptures as well as developing targeted therapies to prevent and treat these injuries. Another, relates to the utilization of patient reported outcomes to evaluate the efficacy and value associated with care provided in his department.

Thomas R. Hunt, III, the School of Health Professions’ 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, truly captures and represents every aspect of our mission, which is to improve the quality of health through teaching, research and translation of discoveries into practice.

Click here to see past SHP alumni award winners.